It’s time to buy a new computer, but you have a tough decision ahead of you: do you buy or build a Windows PC or do you prefer a Mac? Here are some of the reasons why you might want to go for a Windows PC over a Mac.
You want freedom of choice
Windows is a hardware independent operating system. It is a platform designed to run on as many systems as possible, from a wide range of manufacturers. It is the primary operating system of choice for the vast majority of end users, hardware OEMs, and system integrators, so it enjoys excellent support across the board.
This gives you the best choice in choosing what kind of computing experience you want. You can choose to build your own PC from scratch, choosing everything from the case and fans to the CPU, GPU, and RAM that power it. Or you could pay someone else to build your system for you, to a specification of your choosing, at a slight premium.
You also have a lot more options when it comes to other form factors, like laptops. There are Windows laptops that give Apple a run for their money in terms of overall power and polish, like the Dell XPS range, and those that aim for the less expensive end of the market for those who need something cheap to get the job done. . .
Powerful mobile workstation
Dell XPS 13 (11th Gen Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD)
The Dell XPS 13 is ideal for those who need the power of an 11th Gen Core i7 processor in a small package. It has a gorgeous OLED screen, 16GB of RAM and Intel Iris Xe graphics, plus Windows 11 Home.
Laptops and desktops are far from your only options. You can build a small form factor PC in a Mini-ITX case, or push your building skills to the max with a sleeper PC. If space is a concern, an older Intel NUC could be a bargain, or you could go for a Windows all-in-one if you want a Windows alternative to Apple’s iMac. Microsoft is even testing the waters for small ARM-based Windows machines to rival the Mac mini.
Keep in mind that Windows 11 falls back on some of this choice with its TPM 2.0 requirements, but most modern PCs make the cut if you’re shopping for a new one in 2022 or beyond.
Remember that choosing an Apple computer will limit you to current Apple models, with the option of Apple upgrades, which run an Apple Silicon ARM-based processor. There’s no option to build your own or go for a modular design, so you’re much more limited in terms of how your machine turns out.
Gambling is a priority for you
PC gaming thrives due to a variety of factors, and one of them is a constant desire to push the limits in terms of hardware. The latest and greatest GPUs, like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090, won’t be found on a Mac. This allows PC users to experience cutting-edge techniques like ray tracing in a way that even next-gen consoles can’t.
NVIDIA 40 series GPUs
ZOTAC GeForce RTX 4080 16GB
NVIDIA’s 40 series is here, and the 4080 offers a slightly more affordable entry point into high-end PC gaming in a smaller, cooler, and more efficient form factor than the 4090.
This helps make Windows the platform of choice for gamers, a space in which macOS cannot compete. Apple has made some strides in terms of GPU performance and software support in recent years, but it’s nothing compared to what’s possible in Windows. This is largely due to the pervasiveness of the Windows platform among gamers.
Microsoft’s operating system is the default platform for all but the big consoles (and even that is usually just a matter of time). Financially, it makes a lot of sense to develop games for Windows. Digital storefronts like Steam, the Epic Games Store, GOG, and publisher-only storefronts make it easy to reach a large number of people. Choice is a big part of this, with great support for gamepads, mice, keyboards, high refresh rate monitors, and more.
For smaller developers, Windows presents new opportunities. Early Access games allow enthusiastic gamers to participate in the pre-launch stage, financing projects at a reduced price and being able to test products early. And then there’s Game Pass, Microsoft’s all-you-can-eat gaming subscription that lets you play what you want for a flat fee per month (with most new first-party titles coming to both Windows and Xbox at the same time). .
There was once a good argument for buying a gaming PC and your favorite console to play exclusive titles, but times are changing. Microsoft now brings many of its own titles like Halo: Infinity and the Force series to Windows on day one. While Sony isn’t quite as generous, you only have to wait a few years for PlayStation system vendors like God of War, Horizonand Spiderman to get PC versions. Most of the time, these games look better on PC if you have the hardware to push things to the limit.
That’s not to mention the virtual reality space, a platform that thrives among the enthusiastic following of the PC audience. The best VR headsets like the Valve Index and HTC Vive Pro 2 rely on a high-end Windows PC to deliver the best VR experience (at least until PSVR 2 arrives).
Want to avoid Apple tax
When it comes to building or buying a Windows computer, the sky’s the limit in terms of how much you want to spend. You can play it safe and build a basic system in a modest case, adding the components you need as your budget allows. Or you could forget about caution and spend thousands of dollars on an RGB nightmare that will double your energy bill.
Generally speaking, if you put a Windows PC and a Mac with equivalent performance next to each other, you’ll end up paying a lot more for Apple’s option. This is particularly true when it comes to Apple’s high-end machines like the MacBook Pro and Mac Studio. Although the MacBook Air is competitively priced, many Windows OEMs will add double the RAM and more storage than Apple charges.
This makes the Windows platform a more attractive option for those on a tight budget who are just looking for a comparison of price and performance. That’s to say nothing of the arguments Mac users make for build quality, overall user experience, and “access” to a platform like macOS on Apple’s side.
Prefer to use (or trust) Windows
Some people just prefer to use Windows, and that’s okay. It’s hard to put a price on productivity, so if using Windows means doing more, why get in the way of progress? Maybe you prefer the user interface, the ability to use a touch screen, or the wide range of free apps the platform offers, or maybe you hate the idea of learning how to do things the Apple way.
Thin and light Windows laptop
Since Apple has moved away from Intel-based x86 processors, you can no longer use Boot Camp to natively install Windows. You can’t boot Windows on ARM natively on a Mac, so you’re “stuck” with macOS. Apple’s desktop operating system is powerful but not to everyone’s taste, especially if you’re a seasoned Windows veteran.
Installing Windows on a modern Mac would require using a virtual machine like Parallels or a free solution like VirtualBox. You would need to use the ARM-based version of Windows 11 which works fine but lacks the full support of its x86 counterpart. You can run most Windows apps, but macOS always runs in the background.
If you prefer to deal directly with Windows, buy a PC. If macOS isn’t your cup of tea, avoid it entirely and don’t buy a Mac. The ARM-based version of Windows may never run natively on a Mac (unlike Linux, which is almost there). The software you rely on for work, school, or play may not work in a virtual machine environment either.
Games in particular take a hit. Not only does it depend on Apple Silicon hardware, but most modern titles simply won’t work in a virtual machine. Additional overhead is also introduced when running two operating systems, particularly when it comes to power and battery life.
You want a machine you can upgrade
Building a PC comes with great benefits, like having a machine that you can upgrade at a later date. You’ll learn how the hardware fits together, how to select components that complement each other, and hopefully how to fix it when something goes wrong.
This doesn’t just apply to PCs you’ve built yourself, but many pre-built PCs with a bit of hassle. Even Windows laptops are more upgradable than their Apple counterparts. This could be just a bar of RAM or larger NVMe drive that you drop a few years after buying your laptop, or it could be much more if modular laptop platforms like the Framework take off in a big way.
If being able to upgrade is important to you, be sure to build your own machine (or choose a machine from a system integrator that doesn’t use proprietary parts) so you have a way forward in the future.
Windows offers more options
There are some good reasons to choose a Windows PC over a Mac, including cost, flexibility, and upgradability. Of course, there are also some good reasons why many people should buy a Mac. It’s a good idea to understand both arguments before making a decision.